How to get your kid to sleep in their own bed when they’ve taken up residence in yours.
Before your baby was even conceived, you may have said something along the lines of “I’ll never have a baby sleep in my bed.” Then you fell pregnant and you bought a Moses Basket and a cot and placed it in the baby’s nursery where he would sleep every night.
But then you bring baby home from the hospital and you can’t bear to put him in the Moses basket even though it’s pulled up right next to your bed. You’re getting up at least 5 million times to check if he’s still breathing, is he crying or just being a noisy sleeper (why are newborns such noisy sleepers?) and then of course you have to get up to feed. So you might as well just have him in the bed with you.
Eventually you feel confident enough to have him sleep in his own space and you and your partner have your bed to yourselves again. Then the teething starts. Oh dear God, the teething! Your baby is crying in pain and might have a fever and it’s so much easier to have him cuddle up close for comfort and for administering medicines and the myriad of teething gels that you’re not sure is even is working.
And by this point it’s just become habit to have him in the bed with you and easier than getting up repeatedly in the night to plop his dummy back in or soothe a nightmare.
But toddlers aren’t the best bed mates. Someone inevitably ends up with a foot in the face or with a very small piece of the bed real estate and not even a corner of the duvet. Parents sleep is often more disturbed with a kid in the bed.
4 tips for moving them back
Now I can’t guarantee that this will work for you because all children are different and we all have different living spaces but here’s what worked for us.
1. Big kid bed
Or a toddler bed that comes with a railing. We went with a floor bed in our room where if our son woke up in the night we could easily redirect him back there and lay down next to him so he would get used to his own bed instead of ours. And it would also have enough space for mommy or daddy to lie comfortably with him.
2. Bean bag friend
Being in your bed with us meant that our son had gotten used to having a warm body next to him. So we got him a microwaveable bean bag in the guise of a sheep. It is quite a solid weight so it feels more significant than a normal stuffed animal and you can warm it up for some comfort.
3. Familiarise them with their bed
We spend a lot of awake time playing on his bed. Referring to it as his bed and just lying there when it’s reading time. This way it’s not a foreign place to them and will be less likely to cry when they wake up in the middle of the night they won’t think they’re in a strange place. Because like adults, kids like their places of comfort too.
They say it takes 21 days to form a new habit. Your child may have not gotten that memo though so it might take a bit longer, or thankfully in our case a bit shorter, for your kid to get the idea. I know it’s tiring to get up and put your toddler back in their own space, but trust me, you will get a better quality of sleep than when you were being kicked all night. So just keep at it and hopefully you can move them into their own room soon after that.
Do you have any tips for moving kids to their own space?
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